Allen Americans, Chad Costello, Dan Milan, Danick Gauthier, ECHL, ECHL Central Division, Grant Rollheiser, Gregor Hanson, Ian Duval, Ian Lowe, Jared Walker, Justin Bernhardt, Kenton Miller, Mike Wilson, Rapid City Rush, Spender Asuchak, Tulsa Oilers, Wichita Thunder
Allen arrived in Wichita with a mission — to clinch a playoff position (finally!) and for a bit of payback after the Thunder defeated them twice this week in Texas on home ice, once in overtime and the other in a shutout. Wichita now moves down to 4th in a 2-way tie with Tulsa (who has the tiebreaker) with 68 points, as Rapid City (with the tiebreaker) and Quad City tie for 2nd with 69 points. This mad scramble for the bottom three playoff positions in the Central Division is going to go down to the wire, folks!
Wichita played a good 1st period with great defensive coverage, high shots on goal, strong goaltending and outstanding penalty kill for the entire game. If Wichita could have put any quality shots on goal this game would have easily been finished in the 1st. Shots on goal for the 1st were 18-10 for the Thunder.
The 2nd period started on a Wichita powerplay and at 54 seconds in Danick Gauthier scored from the circle off a crisp pass from Justin Bernhardt across the slot. At 10:01 Allen’s Greger Hanson tied the game, and later at 18:15 Mike Wilson scored on a breakaway just out of the penalty box to put the Thunder back in the lead, 2-1. Shots on goal for the 2nd were 12-6 for Allen.
The 3rd continued the back-and-forth scoring as Allen’s Spencer Asuchak tied the game at 1:26, and later at 5:26 Mike Wilson scored his second of the night to put the Thunder in the lead once again at 3-2. The last half of the 3rd period was an Allen onslaught and while the Thunder held them incredibly well, it only took a few small missteps for Allen to take control. At 11:12 Allen’s Chad Costello tied the game at 3-3 with a wicked backhander on Thunder’s Grant Rollheiser, and later at 14:54 Jamie Schaafsma got the game winning goal for the Allen win, 4-3. Shots on goal for the 3rd were 11-9 for Allen.
|2nd||WIC||0:54||D. Gauthier (assists J. Bernhardt, I. Lowe) – PP|
|2nd||ALN||10:01||G. Hanson (assists J. Baker, S. Asuchak)|
|2nd||WIC||18:15||M. Wilson (assists J. Walker, D. Milan)|
|3rd||ALN||1:26||S. Asuchak (assists K. Young, G. Steffes)|
|3rd||WIC||5:37||M. Wilson (assists D. Gauthier, J. Bernhardt)|
|3rd||ALN||11:12||C. Costello (assist A. Gens)|
|3rd||ALN||14:54||J. Schaafsma (assists G. Hanson, G. Steffes)|
Wichita creates great opportunities for scoring, but very few of their shots are actually quality shots that can get past a goaltender. This is where a top-notch sniper on the team would have really helped their chances about right now. Keep in mind however that the Thunder are still without two of their top forwards — Ian Duval and Kenton Miller. The question remains will either one return anytime soon? Let’s hope so!
The Thunder are back at it tonight in Wichita as they face their long-time rival the Tulsa Oilers. Be there!